Mindfulness in Autism

Mindfulness in Autism

Mindfulness in Autism

Why is mindfulness in autism the most important thing you can do for your child? The autism journey is not for the faint of heart. If you are like me, you were thrust on this journey, kicking and screaming, and perhaps even angry at the Universe or the Man upstairs. You certainly didn’t sign up for this and you certainly wouldn’t choose this for yourself. I am entering the thirteenth year of my journey with my son with autism. And I fought it, and hard, in the early years. I was searching for the silver bullet. I scoured the internet, met with autism experts all over the country, and read everything I could get my hands on. And it did very little to help my son. From $20,000 hyperbaric oxygen chambers to expensive IV therapies, I gained a lot of knowledge about the physiological train wreck in autism, but very little in the way of a meaningful connection with my…

Outsmarting Autism: Expanded and Updated

Patricia Lemer’s Outsmarting Autism is a key component of Epidemic Answers’ health-coach training program because it teaches foundations of health, not only for children with autism, but also for children with allergies, autoimmune disorders, behavioral disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders. With the expansion and update of the book, Outsmarting Autism, Updated and Expanded: Build Healthy Foundations for Communication, Socialization, and Behavior at All Ages, the book continues to be an important foundation for parents and professionals with questions about improving symptoms in children with autism. Outsmarting Autism is an encyclopedia infused with Lemer’s Total Load Theory. Each child has his or her own unique load of stressors to which he or she has been exposed, and each child has different triggers that cause these stressors to come into play and contribute to symptoms. The Five-Step Plan Lemer shows us how to prioritize healing modalities with her five-step plan: Take Away the Bad Stuff, and Add Back the Good Stuff Lemer’s…

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

If any sense is inefficient, the integration process can be disrupted, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) – a term coined by A. Jean Ayres PhD – occurs.  However, because of the possibility of confusing it with the unrelated disorder Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), in the 1980s, those in the field informally began using the term DSI for dysfunction in sensory integration. Ayres Sensory Integration Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI) is now trademarked, and includes the original theory, assessment, patterns of dysfunction, and intervention concepts, principles, and techniques articulated by Dr. Ayres and applied by therapists trained in this approach worldwide. Some of Dr. Ayres’ colleagues and students, headed by Susanne Smith Roley OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA and Zoe Mailloux, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, founded a new organization called The Collaborative for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI). CLASI provides continuing education opportunities for mastering, applying and advancing knowledge in ASI theory and practice, culminating in a certificate of certification.  CLASI is a…

Sensory Diet

Sensory Diet

Sensory Diet

A sensory diet can help many individuals with autism, whose sensory processing is compromised, because they may find it hard to achieve and maintain an appropriate arousal level. In addition, a sensory diet can help those with Sensory Processing Disorder, as well as those with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities; sensory issues may be playing a large, undetected role in these disorders. Children with these disorders may move from sensory-seeking to sensory-avoidance behaviors, which can be problematic for authority figures even though they serve a purpose for the individual. But what if kids with autism were given opportunities to rock, touch, move, and jump? Maybe they would be satiated and not act out inappropriately. What Is a Sensory Diet? This is the stance taken by many occupational therapists who show parents how to use a sensory diet. Just as a nutritionist recommends certain foods and supplements, the occupational therapist may recommend readily available opportunities to be physical, and supplements them with…

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Preventing Sensory Processing Disorder in High-Risk Infants

Kelly Dorfman, MS, LDN, discusses how a good neurological diet and healing the gut may stave off Sensory Processing Disorder in a high-risk infant. Three year old Charlie was recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and his parents were relieved to finally have an explanation for his extreme fussiness, poor sleep, and developmental delays.  What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?  Previously labeled Sensory Integration Dysfunction, Sensory Processing Disorder relates to the commonly known senses of touch (including pressure), taste, smell, vision and sound as well as other senses such as: Proprioceptive sense:  This sense helps a person determine where they are in space in relation to other things and people. Children with Sensory Processing Disorder often feel disconnected from their bodies and thus often have poor coordination, which can often lead to delays in social development. Vestibular sense:  Proprioception is intertwined with the vestibular sense, which is controlled by the movement of fluid within the inner ear. Because the vestibular…

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Undiagnosed Lyme Disease

Nika Hamblin relates her personal story of dealing with undiagnosed Lyme disease in this post. Many years ago, my husband and I were living in southern Germany. I became very ill with what doctors thought was a severe strain of flu. Mentally and physically, I haven’t been the same since because of these symptoms: Memory loss Mental fogginess Weight gain Intolerance to alcohol Weakness Joint achiness Complete inability to exercise Doctors kept telling me “if you’d just lose some weight….” Nobody wanted to listen to the fact that I gained a lot of weight BECAUSE I was sick. Five years later, my internist sent me to Johns Hopkins. Diagnoses: chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH); I later discovered that some patients diagnosed with CFS in actuality have Lyme disease.  Both Sons Have Multiple Diagnoses While still sick, I gave birth to my first son, Spencer, who was born five weeks prematurely for no known reason. When it…

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

MTHFR Mutation

A genetic mutation called MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase, otherwise known as an MTHFR mutation or methylation defect, may be one reason why some children develop autism or other neurodevelopmental disorder. There are many contributing factors involved in this “perfect storm” situation which may accurately describe your child. The MTHFR mutation may explain why some children survive the overload of environmental toxicity whatever the triggers may be, whereas others, at some point during their early stages of neurological development, regress and remain somewhere on the vast spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. MTHFR is a type of folate that crosses the blood brain barrier (folic acid, which is synthetic, does not) needed to make the brain methylate; put simply, methylation is a method of detoxification. Children with autism have been found to have “Cerebral Folate Deficiency” (CFD) which means an insufficiency of folate in the brain causing defects in the methylation process.    What Is Methylation?  Defects in the methylation process can affect: Speech Language Auditory…

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium: The Super-Mineral

Magnesium can stop an asthma attack, pull toxins out of the body, increase circulation, remove age spots, decrease joint pain and relieve constipation. It is the eighth most plentiful element on the planet and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for a very wide gamut of critical body functions, affecting virtually every organ system.  Why Is Magnesium Important in Developmental Delays?  This mineral is directly responsible for over 300 biochemical bodily reactions, many of which have gone awry in individuals with autism, attention issues, Sensory Processing Disorder and other developmental delays. It is extremely important in the metabolism of fellow elements: cadmium, calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, lead, sulfur and zinc. It is the single most important mineral for maintaining proper electrical balance and facilitating smooth metabolism in the cells. One of the major properties of it is that of stabilizing cell membranes. The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence…

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Increasing amounts of research (see References, below) point to a vitamin D deficiency as being linked to autism, as well as ADHD, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders. What Is Vitamin D and How Do We Get It?   Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced naturally as D3 or cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) when sunlight hits the skin. Most people used to get sufficient vitamin D3 from sunlight. Today, vitamin D deficiency is rampant largely in part to increased use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, coupled with a move away from an agrarian society.   A Perfect Storm for Vitamin D Deficiency With just 10-40 minutes of unprotected summer sun our bodies produce about 20,000 units of vitamin D. The body makes what it needs, accumulating and storing significant reserves in the tissues, liver, spleen, bones, and brain; it can be then be available during darker months. Vitamin D is fat soluble, requiring sufficient “good” fats in the diet for…

Prism Lenses

The use of prism lenses for behavioral and learning problems goes back to the 1970’s when optometric pioneers began using these tools at the Gesell Institute. Prism lenses can be powerful temporary tools for individuals with autism and other developmental delays because they alter neural processing of the brain, creating an unconscious change in posture or attention.  How Prism Lenses Are Prescribed Counter to what many believe, lens prescribing is an art, not a science. While a machine might indicate one Rx, that prescription might make a patient dizzy or nauseous. Lenses are for particular purposes: to do a specific job, such as reading in the sun, or driving a truck in the rain at night. Unfortunately, for most people, one lens cannot solve both problems. Different prescriptions are thus necessary, depending upon the task.    Ophthalmologists use compensatory lenses to improve eyesight for specific purposes, such as those just described. Most people reading this post are wearing compensatory lenses. Optometrists,…